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The ecology of methane in streams and rivers: patterns, controls, and global significance

Show simple item record Stanley, Emily H. Casson, Nora J. Christel, Samuel T. Crawford, John T. Loken, Luke C. Oliver, Samantha K. 2018-09-25T22:41:56Z 2018-09-25T22:41:56Z 2015-12-07
dc.identifier.citation Stanley, Emily H., Nora J. Casson, Samuel T. Christel, John T. Crawford, Luke C. Loken, and Samantha K. Oliver. "The ecology of methane in streams and rivers: patterns, controls, and global significance." Ecological Monographs 86(2) (2016):146-171. DOI: 10.1890/15-1027. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0012-9615
dc.description.abstract Streams and rivers can substantially modify organic carbon (OC) inputs from terrestrial landscapes, and much of this processing is the result of microbial respiration. While carbon dioxide (CO₂) is the major end‐product of ecosystem respiration, methane (CH₄) is also present in many fluvial environments even though methanogenesis typically requires anoxic conditions that may be scarce in these systems. Given recent recognition of the pervasiveness of this greenhouse gas in streams and rivers, we synthesized existing research and data to identify patterns and drivers of CH₄, knowledge gaps, and research opportunities. This included examining the history of lotic CH4 research, creating a database of concentrations and fluxes (MethDB) to generate a global‐scale estimate of fluvial CH₄ efflux, and developing a conceptual framework and using this framework to consider how human activities may modify fluvial CH₄ dynamics. Current understanding of CH₄ in streams and rivers has been strongly influenced by goals of understanding OC processing and quantifying the contribution of CH₄ to ecosystem C fluxes. Less effort has been directed towards investigating processes that dictate in situ CH₄ production and loss. CH₄ makes a meager contribution to watershed or landscape C budgets, but streams and rivers are often significant CH₄ sources to the atmosphere across these same spatial extents. Most fluvial systems are supersaturated with CH₄ and we estimate an annual global emission of 26.8 Tg CH₄, equivalent to ~15‐40% of wetland and lake effluxes, respectively. Less clear is the role of CH₄ oxidation, methanogenesis, and total anaerobic respiration to whole ecosystem production and respiration. Controls on CH₄ generation and persistence can be viewed in terms of proximate controls that influence methanogenesis (organic matter, temperature, alternative electron acceptors, nutrients) and distal geomorphic and hydrologic drivers. Multiple controls combined with its extreme redox status and low solubility result in high spatial and temporal variance of CH₄ in fluvial environments, which presents a substantial challenge for understanding its larger‐scale dynamics. Further understanding of CH₄ production and consumption, anaerobic metabolism, and ecosystem energetics in streams and rivers can be achieved through more directed studies and comparison with knowledge from terrestrial, wetland, and aquatic disciplines. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship "Support for this paper was provided by funding from the North Temperate Lakes LTER program, NSF DEB‐0822700." en_US
dc.description.uri en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Ecological Society of America en_US
dc.subject Anaerobic Respiration en_US
dc.subject Carbon en_US
dc.subject Database en_US
dc.subject Ecosystem Metabolism en_US
dc.subject Efflux en_US
dc.subject Global en_US
dc.subject Greenhouse Gas en_US
dc.subject Heterogeneity en_US
dc.subject Lotic en_US
dc.subject Methanogenesis en_US
dc.subject Methanotrophy en_US
dc.title The ecology of methane in streams and rivers: patterns, controls, and global significance en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1890/15-1027 en_US

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